The Latest From Our Blog

Finding Reinforcers

The Definition of a Reinforcer There is perhaps no term used in behavior analysis that is tossed around as casually in the general lexicon as the word “reinforcer.”  Most people familiar with applied behavior analysis (ABA) recognize that the science of ABA is based on the principle of reinforcement.  Unfortunately, the scientific definition of a … more »

The Differences Between Speech and Language

The technical term for my job title is “speech-language pathologist,” which sometimes is shortened to the acronym “SLP.”  More often though, I’m known to the public as a “speech therapist.”  In fact, when introducing myself, I’ve often found it easier to simply refer to myself as a speech therapist, as the technical term is a … more »

Sparking Speech

As a novice speech-language pathologist, I used to think there was really nothing I could do to spark speech in a non-verbal child.  I was wrong.  Research shows that alternative augmentative communication, such as sign language, promotes VOCAL language.   In addition, a procedure known as stimulus-stimulus pairing may also prompt talking. Stimulus-Stimulus Pairing Stimulus-stimulus … more »

Teaching Repetition to Unlock Language

Several years ago I had the privilege of writing part of a chapter in a communication, behavior, and functional skills assessment and curriculum tool titled Essential for Living.  My goal when developing my contribution was to figure out how practitioners and parents, with little to no knowledge about speech and language development or therapy, could … more »

Language Therapy: The Case Against Carrier Phrases

I’ve recently written about the importance of teaching children requests as “first words” rather than animals, letters, numbers, or colors.  I’ve also been discussing the importance of avoiding general requests and social niceties.  For example, don’t teach the word “more” and refrain from prompting children to say “please” too early.  The list of “don’ts” continues … more »

Language Therapy: The Case Against the Word “Please”

In my last blog post, I discussed the reasons why it’s best to avoid teaching the word “more” as a first word.  Now, I’d like to make a case against the word “please.”  I’ve seen some practitioners teach “please” as a first word, and when this occurs, the pitfalls are largely the same as teaching … more »

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